Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann yesterday paid little heed to concerns the Bundesliga season was over before it begun, saying his only focus was on his team’s quest for an 11th consecutive title. Speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s home clash with Borussia Moenchengladbach today, Nagelsmann said he was focused on his side’s consistency.
“To be honest, I don’t care whether our pursuers stumble or not,” said Nagelsmann, who joined Bayern from second-placed Leipzig after the 2020-21 season. “If you’re sitting on the right side (of the table), you don’t have to worry about it. It’s important that we don’t stumble, that we get consistency in our performance. We’re in a good mood. We’ve got plenty of self-confidence.”
Munich are the only Bundesliga side to have a perfect three-from-three record so far this season, with Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen all suffering setbacks last round. Nagelsmann also sought to deflect the generous praise directed at teenage forward Jamal Musiala from former Bayern and Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaeus.
Matthaeus this week said Musiala “reminds me of (Lionel) Messi” and predicted that he could one day be the best in the world. Nagelsmann said Musiala, 19, who grew up in England but elected to play for Germany at international level, “would probably be honoured by the comparison” but that he had a long way to go. Lionel has played at an extremely high level for many years. Jamal still has to do that, (but) I trust him.”
Speaking of Champions League draw, Nagelsmann also predicted Munich fans would warmly welcome former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski back to the Allianz Arena. Lewandowski’s Barcelona have been drawn against Bayern along with Inter Milan and Viktoria Pilsen in what Nagelsmann called the “group of death”.
“I think they’ll applaud (Lewandowski). It’s never good when someone is booed.” I want our fans to welcome him back the way they celebrated him when he scored. He deserves that, regardless of whether fans think his farewell was great or not.”
Last season, Gladbach beat Bayern 2-1 at the Allianz Arena and drew 1-1 with them at home, but it was their 5-0 drubbing of the 32-time German champions in the German Cup which really rankled the Bavarians. New Gladbach coach Daniel Farke, who twice won promotion to the Premier League with Norwich, said on Thursday taking on Bayern in Munich was “perhaps the biggest challenge in European football”.
Farke said he doesn’t “think Bayern are afraid of Gladbach” and suggested his team’s recent record may be a disadvantage. “You can’t buy anything with past successes – quite the opposite. Bayern Munich’s senses will be particularly sharpened now.”
Gladbach’s American defender Joe Scally, who made his Bundesliga debut against Munich last season, said that meetings with Munich were the highlight of his side’s calendar. “It’s just one of those games that players live for.”
Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)
Today: Mainz v Leverkusen, RB Leipzig v Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim v Augsburg, Schalke v Union Berlin, Hertha v Dortmund (1330), Bayern Munich v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1630)
Tomorrow: Cologne v VfB Stuttgart (1330), Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt (1530)